1. Ziploc bags – I always throw a quart and gallon zipper bag in my day-trip tote. Whether saving the handful of strawberries my little guy refused at lunch or protecting our iPad from a sudden storm, Ziplocs can be a life saver.
2. Set of clean clothes – guess what I keep them in… .a Ziploc! But seriously, my little guy shuts down when his clothes are wet or dirty. To avoid an untimely end to our adventures, I always keep a spare set of clothes in my bag. The Ziploc does double duty after the change to keep those wet/soiled clothes from mingling with other things in my bag.
3. An absorbent rag – you guessed it…also kept in a Ziploc. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. I picked ours up at the dollar store. It’s wiped down rained-out strollers, protected my son’s wardrobe from messy snacks (allowing us to postpone the need for number two above), and cooled him in the hot sun (run under a water fountain and laid on his head.) So versatile and valuable for the limited space it requires.
4. A charging brick – My little dude has begun confirming its presence before we are allowed to leave the house. “Mommy, did you pack that charging thingy?” If your pre-K monkey is as iPad-happy as ours, don’t risk a dead device when facing a long drive or lines at attractions. Portable power can mean the difference between a (relatively) peaceful wait for an attraction or having to say “don’t touch that” or “stop hanging from the chains” a hundred times.
5. Cottonelle Fresh Flushable Moist Wipes – travel/single packets – For my son’s first three years, I carried separate wipes for hands and tushies. I recently learned that these cloths are approved for use on hands and face, as well as being a sewer/septic-safe wipe for the…um…“other” end. I like the space savings and sanitation of individual packets.
Bonus tip for “night-tripping” with a preschooler – We love visiting the Walt Disney World Resort®, and that’s about the only time we use the stroller anymore. In the evenings the stroller is especially appreciated, because when he crashes…he really crashes. Not everywhere is stroller friendly though, and we’ve had to leave ours in corrals with dozens of other lookalike strollers while enjoying attractions or nighttime shows. It can be difficult in the dark to tell them apart, even with the special scarf I attached to find it during the day. Well, I’ve found a solution…battery powered rope lights! Because they are smooth they aren’t uncomfortable wrapped around the handles. And, I never have a problem locating ours among the herd!
Bonus tip for visits with bag checks: I would like to preface with the confession that I am a bag addict. I will wear decade-old shoes and fashion from the 90’s, but my closet is packed with lovely specimens from Vera Bradley, Dooney & Bourke, Coach, etc… BUT, when we are day-tripping to places with a bag check nothing beats my clear vinyl tote. Security officers never give us a hard time, and have even thanked us for making their job easier. Most don’t even bother to go through it… they just pick it up and give it a look. Add to this the benefit of keeping out the rain and I have my perfect park bag…but maybe that’s a post for another day?
Contributed by Guest Author Rachel Horsley
Rachel is mom to an energetic little Disney fan and wife to a very supportive convert. She’s a full-time media professional who, in her spare time, is often found reading, writing, or dreaming about Disney Parks. Rachel has been published in Parents and Kids Magazine of Rochester, is a staff writer for magicaldistractions.com, and is always excited to guest contribute for Magical Memories With the Mouse. Follow Rachel’s Disney adventures via @RachelHorsley on Twitter.